Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

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The center is home to one of the world’s most significant textile study collections. Assembled by the late Lloyd Cotsen, it consists of nearly 4,000 fragments of textiles created around the globe and dating from antiquity to the present, as well as some 100 sample books. Scholars, faculty, students and artists are invited to schedule a research visit, and the entire collection is accessible on our collections website. The center also presents rotating gallery displays and public programs inspired by the collection.

The establishment of the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center is made possible through an endowment gift from Margit Sperling Cotsen and the Cotsen estate.



Plan a Visit

The Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center is accessible to scholars, faculty, students and artists by appointment. Contact Academic Coordinator Karthika Audinet at [email protected] to discuss research opportunities and schedule a visit.

About the Collection

Nearly 4,000 fragments from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Oceania and the Americas offer insights into human creativity from antiquity to the present. Cornerstones of the collection are fragments from Japan, China, pre-Hispanic Peru and 16th- to 18th-century Europe. The Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection represents a lifetime of collecting by business leader and philanthropist Lloyd Cotsen (1929-2017). Browse the entire collection online.


The center organizes international roundtables, colloquia and research presentations that examine themes from the Cotsen Textiles Traces Study Collection. Browse upcoming programs or watch videos of past programs.

Collection Stories

Explore the Collections Stories blog or follow us on Instagram @GWMuseum for insights on textile traditions from around the world, including examples from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection.


Micro Exhibition: Denim


Indigo-dyed arm guard with sashiko quilting and leather reinforcements


Arm guard, Japan, 19th century, T-1367.

Design for Levi's leather patch showing teams of horses trying to pull apart a pair of jeans


Design of back leather patch (reproduction),
Levi Strauss & Co., United States, 1887.

1930 Levi's poster with image of rodeo cowboy and text, including, "The overalls displayed here are genuine Levi's worn by all cowboys"


Poster (reproduction), Levi Strauss & Co., United States, c. 1930.

1970s Levi's poster showing hippies at a crowded outdoor music festival


Poster (reproduction), Levi Strauss & Co., United States, 1971.